FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2021
Today the White House doubled down on its calls for censorship of any criticism of their vaccine policy because, according to the President, the criticism is “killing people.” In a coordinated attack, President Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, and the Surgeon General of the United States, all called on the government, mainstream media, and social media platforms to censor any information that criticizes the message that “vaccines are safe, they are effective.” The Biden administration claimed that there are a “number of people who are dying around the country because they are getting misinformation that is leading them to not take the vaccine.” The President himself went further and asserted that by not censoring what the government considers “vaccine misinformation,” Facebook is “killing people,” insinuating that the social media company is complicit in murder. This form of bullying by the White House of speech it does not like sets a dangerous precedent.
Press secretary Psaki specifically referenced a report about the “disinformation dozen” who she claimed are the “12 people who are producing 65% of vaccine misinformation on social media platforms.” The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) is targeted in that report, which lists ICAN as a “key anti-vaxxer organization” that must be de-platformed.
It is not surprising that the White House would like to censor ICAN’s factual reporting concerning COVID-19. After all, ICAN is dedicated to examining the government’s conduct concerning vaccine products. For example, ICAN published an article titled NIH Officials Profiting from COVID-19 Vaccine, which explains how officials within the NIH stand to earn millions of dollars from sales of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. That is a fact. ICAN also produced an article which explains how the government’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board created to oversee the COVID-19 clinical trials has serious conflicts of interest. That is a fact. ICAN likewise distributed another article explaining how companies selling COVID-19 vaccines have no liability for injuries incurred as a result of taking the vaccine. That too is a fact.
ICAN published a dozen articles related to COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines that raise important questions and provide factual information. ICAN further published a lengthy written exchange and debate it had with federal health authorities regarding vaccine safety. It published surprising and often shocking responses received to Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by ICAN, highlights of which are available here. ICAN filed numerous petitions with the FDA regarding serious troubling safety issues with various childhood vaccines, which have caused the FDA to change its policies in certain instances, information about which is available here. It also prosecuted numerous lawsuits against government and private entities related to vaccine issues, some of which are summarized here.
Instead of addressing ICAN’s factual and science-driven concerns, the administration is trying to avoid the issue by calling it “misinformation” and demanding its censorship. The administration did not attempt to respond to any concerns about the vaccines or address any of the questions raised repeatedly by ICAN to public health authorities. The surest sign that a party cannot deal with the substance and facts presented is to attack the messenger. And that is precisely what the government has been reduced to regarding ICAN’s factual based concerns about vaccine safety.
When asked how long the government has been “spying on people’s Facebook profiles looking for vaccine misinformation,” Jen Psaki replied that they “are in regular touch with social media platforms” and the bigger concern should be “the number of people who are dying around the country because they are getting misinformation that is leading them to not take the vaccine.” She dismissed the idea that people are more concerned about “Big Brother” than “people dying … because of a pandemic where misinformation is traveling on social media platforms.”
The reality is that no tool has caused more oppression throughout history than claims by a government that dissenting voices must be silenced for the good of the people. The real danger is not “misinformation” but the inability to dissent. In that darkness and silence, the people become subject to the rule of those in power. This country was founded on the understanding that there must be freedom from governmental interference in speech. Today, this administration has made clear that it does not respect or intend to abide by this fundamental right of our democracy.
If the White House wants to dispute the information that ICAN has published, ICAN welcomes such an open debate any time. Instead, the President has chosen to hide inconvenient facts by demanding their censorship. Government censorship of inconvenient facts is the tool of dictators and juntas that Americans have fought against for generations -- it has no place in a free society.